New MLK Jr. Monument Park to be included in statewide Civil Rights Trail

Dublin reveals MLK Jr. monument park

A $250,000 project in Dublin was unveiled to the public Monday after nearly four years of work.

City leaders say they decided to reveal the Martin Luther King Junior Monument Park to honor a historic moment that happened in Dublin on this day 73 years ago.

Historians say Martin Luther King Junior gave his first public speech ever at the First African Baptist Church in Dublin on April 17, 1944, when he was 15 years old.

The city unveiled the newest additions to the monument park, a photo mural by Dublin artist, Randall Gearhart, along with a mobile app and audio tour that let people listen and learn about Civil Rights history in Dublin. 

The Georgia Department of Economic Development also announced a surprise today. Jeanee Cyriaque says the department is launching a state-wide Civil Rights Trail, and it's going to include this monument park in Dublin.

"I think it will draw a lot of tourists to Dublin that want to learn about this story, so they'll start their experience digitally, and then it will draw them right to this spot, so they can see this wonderful monument park and the historic First African Baptist Church where Doctor King spoke," Cyriaque said.

Cyriaque says the new Civil Rights Trail will include about 15 historic locations across the state. She says the department should be launching the trail online by the end of this year. 

Even thought the monument park was revealed today, Visit Dublin Director of Tourism, Rebecca McWilliam, says it's not finished yet.

She says the city is looking for five donors to donate $5,000 dollars each to complete it.

"The five for five challenge will help fund the construction of a podium sculpture on the First African Baptist Church side of the property, as well as some additional landscaping, to truly mark the church as the place where Doctor King gave his first public speech," McWilliam said.

McWilliam says after the reveal on Monday, several local companies pledged to donate $15,000 in total, so the city only needs about $10,000 more.

She says the construction of the last few details of the monument park should be complete by August of this year. 

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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